A Teesside woman has engineered her dream career in STEM and is calling on more young people in the region to follow in her footsteps.
Rachel Boynton from Middlesbrough had always been interested in engineering, but it wasn’t until she enrolled at Middlesbrough College that she believed she could turn her passion into a profession.
The 24-year-old said: “I grew up around engineering – others in my family work in the industry and Teesside has such a strong industrial history, I think that influences you without you even realising.
“I’d considered studying engineering at GCSE level but the class was full so I had to take a different subject. I was disheartened and for some people, that could have put them off – but it made me even more determined to succeed.”
Rachel attended an open day at Middlesbrough College where she spoke with engineering tutors who reignited her passion for the subject.
She added: “I felt like they were taking my ambitions seriously and they made me feel like I could really make a career out of engineering.
“I loved every minute of my time at the College, and everyone was so supportive and encouraging. I want other young people to feel that too and to know that there’ll always be people who will believe in you and give you a chance, you just need to be willing to take a chance too.
“Women are still under-represented in the industry – I see it day to day in my job and while I’m out and about networking. There needs to be more done to inspire school children and show them what opportunities are available.”
After completing her Level 3 BTEC in Mechanical Engineering, Rachel secured a junior engineering apprenticeship with MPI Offshore where she worked for four years, alongside studying for a degree in engineering.
She now works as an assistant fleet engineer for Network Rail, a diverse role that sees her travel across the country carrying out essential maintenance works and repairs on tracks.
Rachel added: “I can honestly say I love my job and if I hadn’t gone to Middlesbrough College, I might not be able to say the same thing.”
Ruth Sheridan, Rachel’s former tutor and also curriculum team leader for mechanical and mechatronic engineering at Middlesbrough College, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Rachel and where she’s got to in such a short space of time. It’s all down to her hard work and determination – she’s a great role model for other young people just starting out in their career.
“Deciding your next move can be daunting but we help thousands of students realise their potential every year, from school leavers to adult learners looking to build new skills.
“We’d always encourage people to explore their options, come along to open events and speak with our tutors. We offer vocational and academic courses in every occupational sector area and at every level – including T Level courses that have been developed with employers to offer students invaluable hands-on industry experience in the workplace.
“These types of opportunities can lead to apprenticeships, further study or straight into exciting careers, keeping all pathways open.”
Since its acquisition of TTE in 2019, Middlesbrough College Group is the largest engineering training provider for school leavers in the country.
The College’s experienced trainers support hundreds of learners in the oil and gas, petrochemical, manufacturing, mining, construction and utilities sectors.
TTE’s Offshore Wind Manufacturing Academy is also helping future and current wind turbine technicians get the skills needed to support the burgeoning wind energy industry on Teesside.
Middlesbrough College is hosting an open event on Tuesday 11th October from 5-8pm, where people can find out about courses, take a tour of its multi-million-pound facilities, meet tutors and find out about its student perks – including FREE travel*. Click here to pre-register a space at the Open Event.